Cougars rack up six USTFCCCA regional awards
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association honored three student-athletes and three coaches from the BYU track and field program when it announced its regional awards on Friday.
The Cougars’ six combined awards marked the most earned by any NCAA Division I program for the 2021 outdoor track and field season. BYU was followed by LSU (5), N.C. A&T (5), Alabama (4) and Ohio State (4).
BYU swept the men’s outdoor Mountain Region awards for the first time in program history as two coaches and two student-athletes received recognition from the USTFCCCA.
All-American distance runner Conner Mantz received Mountain Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year and javelin thrower Cameron Bates was named Mountain Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone received Mountain Region Men’s Coach of the Year and assistant track and field coach Kyle Grossarth was named Mountain Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
The Cougars also made history on the women’s side as All-American distance runner Whittni Orton became the first BYU runner to receive the outdoor Mountain Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and BYU associate director of track and field Diljeet Taylor marked the first BYU coach to be named Mountain Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Conner Mantz | Mountain Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year
Mantz clocked a collegiate-leading mark of 27:41.16 in the 10,000m, just missing the school record held by coach Eyestone. He ended up with the school record in the 5000m with a time of 13:24.78 at the Hayward Premiere and ran 3:37.96 in the 1500m at the West Coast Relays (No. 4 all-time at BYU). He will compete on Wednesday, June 9 at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000m.
The first Cougar to receive the recognition since Miles Batty in 2011, Mantz adds the honor to the list of awards received during the 2020-21 academic year. After winning the individual national title at the 2020-21 NCAA Cross Country Championships and collecting his eighth All-America citation, Mantz was named the Mountain Region Men’s Athlete of the Year in cross country before being named the National Men’s Athlete of the Year and National Scholar Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA.
Cameron Bates | Mountain Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year
Bates broke the BYU school record and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the men’s javelin with a toss of 77.17m/253-2 at the Hayward Premiere. He has topped 70.00m/229-8 six times this season. Entering the meet with the fourth-best javelin mark in the NCAA this year, he will compete on Wednesday, June 9 at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Bates ends a 14-year drought as the last BYU field athlete to receive the outdoor regional field athlete of the year was current BYU throws coach Niklas Arrhenius back in 2007.
Ed Eyestone | Mountain Region Men’s Coach of the Year
Eyestone had the men’s team ranked in the top-5 of the USTFCCCA National TFRI for seven weeks, including the program’s first No. 1 billing. The Cougars were tied with Oregon for the most regional entries (34) and advanced 14 entries to the NCAA Championships. Eyestone’s athletes have combined for 14 top-20 national event rankings, including the top-ranked athlete in the 10,000. In the #EventSquad Rankings, the Cougars have nine top-10 billings with the top 1500m and steeplechase groups, plus the No. 3 javelin squad. Eyestone is the first men’s head coach to receive the award since Mark Robison in 2011.
Kyle Grossarth | Mountain Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year
Grossarth led seven entries in the sprint/hurdle/relay group into the NCAA DI West Preliminary Round. All-Americans Michael Bluth (400m) and Colten Yardley (400H) along with both the 4×100m and 4×400m relay squads advanced to the final site in Eugene. This season, Bluth broke the school record and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400m with a time of 45.13. Grossarth is the first BYU men’s assistant coach to receive the outdoor recognition since the USTFCCCA began presenting the award in 2007.
Whittni Orton | Mountain Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year
Orton became the seventh-fastest woman in collegiate history and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 5000m at the Sound Running Track Meet with her school record-breaking 15:12.91. Orton also broke the program record with a 4:09.31 in the 1500m to move into the all-time top-20 in collegiate history in that event. The seven-time All-American will double in both events next week at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Orton is the first BYU women’s track athlete to receive the outdoor recognition since the USTFCCCA began presenting the award in 2007.
Diljeet Taylor | Mountain Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year
Taylor coached athletes to 22 entries in distance events at the NCAA DI West Preliminary Round, with nine advancing to the final site of the NCAA Championships in Eugene. The Cougars had the top-ranked event squad in the 1500m and were No. 2 in the 800m and steeplechase. Two of her athletes – Whittni Orton (5000m, 15:12.91) and Courtney Wayment (steeplechase, 9:31.37) – own the nation’s fastest time and are among the fastest women in collegiate history. The duo has both qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in their respective events.
The first BYU women’s assistant coach to receive the outdoor recognition since the USTFCCCA began presenting the award in 2007, Taylor was also named Mountain Region Women's Coach of the Year and National Women's Coach of the Year in cross country following her team winning the national championship this season.